Friday, September 28, 2012

Taiwan: An Underrated Destination

I have to admit. I wouldn't go to Taiwan had my sister isn't working there. Rarely do I hear people talk about Taiwan. For me and for some of us I guess, Taiwan is just another Chinese country. But my notion was totally absurd.

It was 6PM of January 23, 2012 when I and my twin sister were driven off to NAIA Terminal 3 for a 10PM flight en route to Taoyuan. Without so much expectations about our destination we boarded and off the plane flew.

After a little more than an hour flight, we arrived Taoyuan International Airport. Passports stamped then headed towards arrival area. With pretty much excitement to see our sister who by the way was staying there for 5 months at the time of our visit, we patiently waited for her coming to pick us up.

Came ate along with food for us. We went out of the terminal. First impression - it was so cold. Our bodies were chilling. Thanks to ate's ardent reminders to bring thick clothes with us we got proper attire to combat the cold temperature.

On our way to hotel in Shilin, I noticed that the houses were lego-like. They were cute! Some parts were also occupied by rice fields and vegetable farms. Pretty much because Taiwan is one of the main exporters of rice in the world.

In Taiwan, we got to experience a lot of things without compromising our budget. The attractions we got to visit are as follows:

Mao Kong Gondola
Mao Kong Gondola is like that of Hong Kong's Ngong Ping 360. The differences? Price and length of traversal. For only 100 NT Dollars you could ride a crystal gondola with great sceneries down there. During the time of our ride it was foggy with ambient temperature of 3 degrees Celcius. Hence, we can't see most of the landscapes vastness but still we enjoyed this ride a lot.

Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Square
Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Square is just less than five-minute walk from the MRT terminal. The area is huge and truly a wonder. You should not miss this if you happen to be in Taipei.

Taipei 101
Of course, who do not know about Taipei 101? It was number 1 on my to-visit list in Taiwan. This portion of Taipei is just so modern and clean.

Overlooking Maokong landscape

Taiwanese go to Maokong for a tea aside from relaxation. There are so many tea houses here. We did not try any for none of us were hot tea sucker. From the Maokong MRT station we walked to find th e temples but found ourselves complaining about our aching legs. haha! So we decided to stop our hunt for the temples and headed back at the Maokong train station.

Walking up to the temples of Maokong
Taiwan is also a haven of good food. Coco is the most popular nai cha or milk tea in Taiwan. My sister was so into it. My twin sister and I tried it ourselves but we still prefer the taste of coffee with cream. haha!

Coco Milk Tea

Mos Burger is a must try. I don't think we have one here in the Philippines. Their rice burger is so delicious! 

It was in Taiwan that I got to taste Cold Stone ice cream. One of the best ice creams ever produced.

Taipei 101 Food Center. They offer variety of food selections of different cuisines. They also give complimentary tea. We tried Jasmine tea. I liked it but sisters did not. 

Taiwan people friendly and willing to help you out with directions in any way they can. The vendor in one of the markets gamely posed for a picture with us. And in here I noticed that they would use the peace sign whenever they are photographed.

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The peace sign in the Taiwanese means they are happy.

My Taiwan trip was one of the memorable ones I had in my head. I dad so much fun and had the opportunity to bond with my sisters. Too bad my brother was able to join us. Maybe next time, we could have another bonding abroad - complete.

To all travelistas I reckon that Taiwan is a must do. With its great places, friendly people and cheap food, I will definitely come back to this underrated country. 

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